Curbing Water Loss with Wireless IoT Flood Detection Sensors

Curbing Water Loss with Wireless IoT Flood Detection Sensors

Table of Contents


Water damage represents one of the most significant challenges for property owners worldwide, with both commercial and residential buildings such as schools, hotels, offices, etc. vulnerable to significant loss. Luckily, the advent of wireless Internet of Things (IoT) flood detection sensors is providing a powerful tool in the battle against water loss. These autonomous devices are able to provide real time data to building management tackle the two main issues created by water leaks/floods.

Firstly, they mitigate any damage that the building infrastructure might incur due to flooding, which is costly, time consuming to fix and creates negativity in tenants. This is done via on time alerts and automation so that staff can take immediate measures.

Secondly water loss is mitigated by utilizing automated valves working in conjunction with wireless flood sensors in order to immediately shut off the main valve. Water is a precious resource and water scarcity is already affecting 40% of population and expected to get worse. Wasting water is not an option and optimizing its consumption will become more and more vital in the coming years, thus having a rapid response flood prevention system is essential.

The True Cost of Water Damage

Before diving into how wireless IoT flood detection sensors can help establish automated flood prevention system, it’s important to understand the scale of the problem they are designed to address. In the United States for example insurance claims for water damage are in the top 3, leading to significant insurance payouts. The negative effects here is twofold, as it affects both households from a monetary perspective and the economy as a who because water scarcity is becoming more and more severe and wasting it is having a very significant economic impact, overall. The costs of not optimizing water utilization can have incredibly severe long-term negative effects. Water on the planet is finite, we can’t create more of it and at the same time it is perhaps the most used resource in our society.

As population and economies grow so does food production requirements. Cattle and crop production is already suffering from water resource constraints, resulting in lower than required yields. Add to this the needs of the expanding population for fresh drinkable water and you can get a picture of where things are heading. We simply need to be smarter and more efficient and utilize every drop of water, allocating it to areas it is most needed. Having a leakage/flood is precisely the opposite, diverting the resource from its intended destination.

It has been the norm to see flooding as a negative event from a purely monetary perspective, but this is a short-term view. A longer and more important effect would be resource scarcity, money is an imaginary asset (it does not exist, not really), where water is a real on and a vital one at that.

Automation as A Flood Prevention Method

Wireless IoT flood detection sensors present an innovative solution to this widespread issue. Sensors strategically installed throughout buildings can provide early warnings of potential flooding or leaks, giving property owners a critical window of opportunity to prevent damage. They allow for a real-time response in case there is an event, which can dramatically decreased water waste. Additionally, the sooner the flood has been restricted/eliminated the lower the potential cost of repair/maintenance of the structure is going to be. Furthermore, if flooding occurs and it is immediately dealt with there is going to be little to no disturbance of the tenants (residential), staff (office), students (schools).

To put things into perspective lets look at some example numbers. According to an Article from H2O Global News based on data collected across 5 000 buildings across Belgium one in 3 buildings is leaking. Furthermore, this leakage accounts for 20% of the total consumption of water in the building.  The same article shares that according to research only 5% of leaks in buildings are reported at all, let alone in time for effective measures to be taken into account. This not only results in higher maintenance costs as there is significant property damage over time, but also effectively increases tenants water bills by 20%. This can have a huge overall impact on water savings as well, as high as saving up to 50% on public water supply (as estimated by the European Commission).

When looking at the aforementioned numbers it is easy to see how IoT Water Detection Sensors are becoming the standard in new Smart Buildings an also in the market of older properties, where such wireless devices are an easy upgrade that has the immediate effect of lowering water bills and reducing maintenance costs.

Example Use Cases

Let us look at some specific scenarios where a leak detection system can have significant benefits for flood prevention and result in a lot lower maintenance costs, not to mention save up on the precious resource that water is:

IoT in Commercial Buildings and Offices

Commercial buildings and offices stand to gain significantly from the implementation of flood detection technologies. They can benefit even more than residential building for the following reasons:

  1. It is often the case that commercial real estate is bigger, simply put the buildings cover more area. This means that there are
    more potential points where an incident can occur and this makes it difficult to monitor the whole properly, especially if utilizing old school methods (if you wait for a leak to be spotted by a person it is probably too late already to prevent flooding). Thus, having an automated flood detection system can significantly improve the quality of maintenance of commercial buildings.
  2. Commercial buildings often house offices, stores, etc. This means there is merchandise, expensive equipment, etc. Thus, the potential monetary loss if there is severe flooding is significantly larger than it would be in an apartment building for example.
  3. Some types of commercial and municipal properties are closed during night time (offices, stores, etc.) as people do not live there. This makes it unlikely for a leakage/flood to be spotted as it would require someone be there (either by chance or a scheduled inspections). This makes automated systems especially valuable as they open a whole new set of possibilities, for example a property can be maintained with minimal staff (no need for regular inspection), which would result in cost savings.
  4. It is often the case that there are severe requirements for safety, especially in industrial settings. Having a real time system that is able to immediately report and take action, be it alert staff or automatically close the main valve, can allows for a much easier time when trying to meet safety regulation requirements.

All of the aforementioned make for a much easier time when managing commercial property, which translates into cost and resource savings. Properties utilizing IoT flood sensors have an advantage over those that do not, which can lead to significant maintenance and repair savings (up to 15% of total yearly costs savings). In addition, properties equipped with smart leak detection sensors are also a lot safer, leading to reduced water related incidents overall. This more than makes up for the initial investment in provisioning the building with wireless IoT sensors.

Keeping Municipal Buildings Safe with IoT

Institutions such as schools, universities and education centers can also significantly benefit from IoT flood sensors. A very significant portion annual maintenance costs is attributed to water damage and water related accidents. The adoption of IoT technologies can drive these costs down, and the safety benefits are undeniable.

Universities for example, especially those that have campuses occupy a very large area, that is a mixture of living quarters and public buildings (labs, halls, offices, etc.). In such a diverse scenario it would be difficult to have an efficient management method for dealing with potential flooding issues without utilizing advanced IoT sensor technologies and systems. Traditional methods would not work well as they would be very restricted, for example:

  1. Campus laboratories have limited access that is only granted to staff, most of the time these are not maintenance staff. Thus, in the event of a flood a lab full of very expensive equipment costing multiple millions of dollars, could suffer very heavy damage and it would be difficult to react on time since the 24/7 building staff probably would not be able to access it. Furthermore, these types of building are large and it is unlikely that an on-site inspection is going to catch the issue on time.
  2. The diverse nature of the spaces that need to be monitored makes it difficult to have a single solution. In most cases, when using traditional system, a specific building needs to have a specific flood monitoring system implementation. Because of this inability to have an unified system the costs of designing and deploying it is higher, not to mention that it might not be a single system, but a combination of several ones that are not interconnected, making them less efficient to manage.

For the aforementioned reasons it is very efficient to utilize wireless IoT flood sensors. They are cost efficient, easy to install as they require no cabling or power provisioning (good quality ones as the NCD flood sensor have up to 10 years of battery life) and can easily be integrated with a number of platforms for data analysis and visualization.

In addition to this modern IoT systems are designed to be modular, meaning they can easily expand their functionality with additional hardware sensors to provide more metrics and software components to add functionality. For example, a campus encompassing flood sensors system can easily be installed in existing building and its data ingested into a building management system. At a later stage wireless smart valves can be installed in key points that work together with the flood sensors. In case of flood detection an alarm is raised by the flood sensor, the system communicates its new state with the corresponding valve and closes it. At this point the staff is alerted of the issue so actions can be taken in a timely manner.

One could even go a step further by adding addition sensor to collect more data (temperature of the water, a smart water meter measuring water usage, water pressure sensor, etc.) that can be analyzed via AI algorithms in order to predict based on parameter changes potential leakage issues ahead of time. This would be perhaps the most efficient way to limit water waste, downtime and monetary cost. Predictive maintenance systems have already made their way in Industry 4.0 and we are seeing them enter into the building management market as well. 

Sensor requirements

Wireless Over Cable

Wireless over cable

Most modern sensors utilize wireless technologies such as DigiMesh, LoRaWAN, NB-IoT, etc. These are specifically designed to simplify deployments, as no communication wiring is needed, which also reduces costs. Furthermore, it allows to easily scale a wireless sensor network, be it an existing cabled one or completely deploying a new one.

Battery Life

This a feature essential for good quality sensors. As most modern ones are wireless, they are also battery powered, without mains provisioning. This is done in order to make them completely self-sufficient, which translates nicely in allowing them to be installed in locations wired, mains powered sensors would be infeasible. For example, when deploying wireless flood detections sensors that are battery operated in remote locations, like out-of-town properties for example it is very convenient to have them battery powered in case of power outage. Most high-grade sensors have up to 10 years of battery life (NCD sensors fall into this category), which allows to effectively eliminate the cost of maintenance over their life cycle.



This is another feature that is a must given one utilizes a modern wireless sensor network of battery powered devices. If your devices are not within the coverage of your network as their range is poor you will not be able to get your data to the Cloud. Technologies as DigiMesh and LoRaWAN are king when it comes to range and they can do up to 2km of range in urban scenarios (lots of objects like buildings and people, etc.) and 10km+ in open areas.

Network Scalability

Network Scalability

One of the main advantages of IoT is that it is a field where very small amounts of data are transferred on a per device bases, in contrast to the traditional Internet. It is however a collection of technologies that are to enable network of vast number of devices, numbering in billions to transmit data, thus the ability for a network to scale well (accommodate a constantly expanding number of devices over time) is no less important than range. Here LoRaWAN is king as it has unprecedented range, followed by DigiMesh and Nb-IoT.

Security of Data

Security of data

All of the aforementioned network technologies have solid security capabilities, they utilize end-to-end encryption so in the event of packet sniffing one would no be able to get a hold of your data. DigiMesh and NCD nodes that it is utilized in uses 128-Bit AES encryption.

Interoperability with Other Systems

Interoperability with other systems

This comes last, but it is very important as well. You do not want to be vendor locked, having a device that relies on proprietary software that can not interact with other vendor hardware and platforms. DigiMesh and LoRaWAN are open standards, so they are recommended, plus they utilize open spectrum, that can be considered a benefit as no license fees need to be paid.


The adoption of wireless IoT flood detection sensors can be a game-changer in preventing water loss and damage, as the numbers clearly show. Early detection and intervention can significantly reduce costs related to water damage, particularly in high-risk environments such as commercial and residential buildings, schools, hotels, and offices.

By embracing IoT, we stand to not only make properties safer and more resilient but also to create a more sustainable and water-efficient future. As more properties adopt this technology, we can expect to see these impressive numbers continue to improve.

Share this on: